Need to tech out your boat? You love it, why not love what's in it?
When it comes to modern-day fishing tools, the number of possibilities is massive. Add a boat to the mix and the technology you can incorporate into your fishing trips grows exponentially.
With so many items on the market, how can you choose what to buy? Depending on your budget, you can stick with practical or go to the extreme. We'll look at both.
There's no point sitting in a spot where you're not catching anything. Buy a trolling motor and get to where the fish are biting.
With a bow mount trolling motor, you can set a foot pedal for control of the boat. Your hands stay free and ready to reel in the big ones. Some motors can be programmed for routes, enabling you to move back and forth between your guaranteed spots.
If budget allows, consider buying a GPS-enabled trolling motor and connect it to fish finders at the bow and side of the boat. Minn Kota's quick-release motor mounts make installation a breeze, allowing you to spend more time on the water than at the dock for installation.
So what happens when both your engine and trolling motor die? Let's be honest, paddling is never your first choice and for that, Cobra makes a GPS enabled radio that's reasonably priced to get you calling for help in no time.
Need something bigger? Standard Horizon makes a radio integrated with 66 channels through a GPS antenna. It also comes with a 30-watt loud hailer and fog signals to keep you safe in low visibility. You'll pay more, but for the added features, it's worth it.
Make yourself aware of what's around you with a good radar system. Be ready to spend a decent amount, but a product like a Raymarine will work well for small boats. If you're looking for more advanced hardware, go for the Simrad Halo.
Whatever is left of your boat budget can go toward a Navnet Chart Plotter. It's compatible with Sirius Satellite Weather Overlays and comes pre-loaded with the coastal maps of the entire United States. Pair it with one of the radars to know where everything--land and boats--are positioned around you.
Why wait for a fish to stumble upon your line when you can hunt them down?
Fish finders offer a unique view of the watery depths. Lowrance creates some of the best fish finders on the market. They've introduced high-definition systems and developed various forms of underwater imaging that pair with sonar. Their high-end equipment does all but suck the fish into a net. With a little understanding of use, you can turn this piece of tech into your go-to tool.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly option, look at their mid-range equipment. It may not have all the features its more expensive brother offers, but it'll get the job done.
Having all this technology means you need a way to keep everything charged, and there's no better method than to use solar panels.
Goal Zero has fold out panels that can be tied down anywhere on your boat, letting you trap that sweet warmth to keep everything running. Couple it with a power pack to have your equipment running even when the sun goes down. Goal Zero is among the best in the portable solar energy field, and their products come highly recommended by users.
Every angler who owns a boat has thought about decking it out with equipment. Whether you're making slow upgrades or big purchases, they'll all pay off in the long run.